By Mary Giron, DVM, SPCA Tampa Bay Veterinary Center

There are a lot of stressful things going on in the world today. Many of those stressors are out of your control, but being pro-active in your hurricane planning can save you the stress of creating one during a major storm threat.

Here are some tips, beyond the normal hurricane kit supplies like pet food and water, to help you prepare your pets:

  • Know your flood and evacuation zones. Visit the Pinellas County website at to check the flood and evacuation zones near you. Never leave pets behind if you have to evacuate.
  • Plan where you’d go if evacuation were necessary. A list of pet-friendly emergency shelters, and protocols for going to one, can be found at
  • Make sure your pet’s vaccinations are up-to-date. Current records are a requirement in order to be considered for a pet-friendly shelter. Be sure your pets’ vaccinations are current and get a copy of their records for your hurricane kit. Also ensure your Pinellas County Rabies License is on your pet’s collar.
  • Make sure your pet is microchipped and the owner records are up-to-date. A microchip is the fastest and most reliable way to reunite you with your pet if you become separated. It’s a cheap and easy procedure that is priceless in a time of crisis. As an owner, remember that you need to keep your contact information up-to-date by calling the microchip company.

Lastly, start planning now. Hurricane season in the Tampa Bay area started on June 1 and lasts until November 30. Don’t wait for another storm to hit to figure out your plan for hurricane season.

spca dr gironDr. Giron at SPCA Tampa Bay Veterinary Center graduated from the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine in 2013. She received a Bachelor’s in Zoology from the University of Florida in 2009. Her professional interests include dentistry, acupuncture and ophthalmology.